Life and Work of Rolf Wideröe by © Pedro Waloschek,     => Contents

Box 11:  The Experts' Report

Professor Roald Tangen writes from Oslo about the circumstances of the years 1945 and 1946 [Ta93]:

"I applied (in 1993) to the Norwegian National Archives for access to the documentation of that time. There I found an extensive file on Wideröe (several hundred pages _ I could not go through all of them) including a copy of the experts' report which was compiled at the time, a document of about 15 pages from which I had a microfilm made.

The matter had first been handled by police officers in a committee of enquiry. From the documents it is apparent that the policemen had very little knowledge of nuclear physics and nuclear weapons and, accordingly, were not in a position to know whether a betatron could be used as a weapon of war.

Because of this, in November 1945, the police officer in charge (who, incidentally, was positively disposed toward Wideröe) called for a commission to act as advisors to the authorities regarding technical matters. The members of the commission were Professor Egil A. Hylleraas, Professor Harald Wergeland, Gunnar Randers and myself. Apart from myself, all have since died. Professor Hylleraas wrote the final text of the report [Hy46].

The papers in the Archives document that the work of the commission effected that the first charge, which concerned Wideröe's involvement in the construction of the V-bombs, was declared groundless. This meant that the charge was reduced to the general one of having worked for the forces of occupation.

The `commission of experts' had no role at all during the legal procedure which took place much later (in November 1946).

I also found the concluding document of the case in the files, a `forelegg', a kind of `submission of evidence' for minor offences. (Wideröe accepted this `forelegg', and in compliance with Norwegian law, his acceptance meant that the case was closed without a formal court trial [Wa94].)

After his release on July 9, 1945 Wideröe was not issued a passport at first, but later (in the spring of 1946) he was given a one-month passport so that he could go to Switzerland to join in the preparations for the construction of betatrons for hospitals."